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January 4, 2022

Martha Guzman is a finance specialist with the San Diego Workforce Partnership and has been with the organization for more than 20 years. But before her tenure, she was a career center member. She took some time to tell us about her experience with the program and what motivated her to seek out training.

Lunch Nov 2021
Martha is second from the right with current and former Workforce Partnership employees who she remains close with.

When I was a young girl, I thought I would grow up to be a teacher. I did well in school and liked it. But I was one of five children being raised by a single mother so there were many challenges, and I didn’t have my citizenship papers in time to attend college. So, I worked a bunch of different service industry and retail jobs.

Then, after my youngest daughter started school, I decided to focus on finding a career.

I told my social worker that I wanted to find a position that would offer more stability than retail, something with a regular schedule, but would also offer some flexibility so I could pick up my kids and be there for them. I had never touched a computer or typewriter so I wanted to get training so I could get an office job. I didn’t even know how to turn on a computer.

She told me she had the perfect thing that was near my house and recommended the GAIN Employability Center program through the South County Career Center. The program included technical training but also things like job application help, resume help and faxing. Our career centers still offer all these services and more!

Workforce Partnership staff came to visit us, including Willie Wallace. Mr. Wallace spoke to the group and he encouraged us that if there was a position that we were interested in, we should apply.

After I finished the program, I was searching for an administrative job and Emily, who led GAIN Employability Center, mentioned there was one at the Workforce Partnership that was open. I remembered what Mr. Wallace said and applied. He’s still a program specialist here at the Workforce Partnership after 20 years.

I ended up getting the job and have been working here ever since. I’ve held a lot of positions in a few different departments. I did admin work before moving into a role with HR. We worked closely with finance and I was always interested in their responsibilities. I mentioned it to my manager and I had a chance to shadow some of the team to see what the work actually looked like. I really enjoyed it and when a position opened up on the team, I applied.

Now I’m a finance specialist and I really enjoy the work.

I’m responsible for a really wide range of work; subrecipient invoices every month, vendor invoices, credit reimbursements, deposits, cash, on-the-job training invoices and more. I get to touch on every piece of our work, with all departments, and it’s always something new, which keeps it exciting.

My favorite part of the job is working with all the other Workforce Partnership employees. Everyone is so kind and willing to help each other, even if we’re on different teams.

Looking back, my advice to my younger self would be to try the new adventurous things. I wanted something better, I said I have to do something better, so that’s what I did.

But you can’t do it on your own. You have to ask for help, you have to get training and you have to be willing to ask. There are lots of resources like our centers and the libraries, so ask for help. You can better your skills to get a better job.

We have lots of programs that are accepting participants, from education and job readiness to training and upskilling. Visit our program page to find one that works for you. You never know where it could lead!  

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